Local officials have confirmed that the 2009 world aerobatic champion, Renaud Ecalle, was killed on Sunday in Southern France following a plane crash along with his wife and their two children.
Renauld and his family were flying a Jodel DR-1050. Aircraft wreckage was found on Monday to the northwest of the city of Lodève after the aircraft went missing at 1730 GMT on Sunday evening when air traffic controllers at Montpellier lost contact with it.
Renaud Ecalle was returning from an airshow in Jonzac to his base at Salon-de-Provence, where he had conducted an aerobatic demonstration,
The causes of the accident is not known, but the Herault area where the plane crashed was on a weather alert during Sunday due to forecast heavy rainfall and gusty winds.
Renauld was a pilot with ”L’equipe Voltiage” of the French Air Force and former fighter pilot on Mirage F1. Renaud Ecalle was crowned world champion aerobatic champion in 2009 at Silverstone and was also European champion in 2010.
Live web broadcasting from Airshows: Views from Al Ain
Here in the UK, we still have February, March and April to get through until our airshow season gets underway. However, in other parts of the world, the 2010 season is already getting going. One of the first big shows of the year is the Al Ain Aerobatics Show in the United Arab Emirates. Al Ain in January is a superb venue for an airshow with warm blue skies and the dramatic desert backdrop.
For 2009 and 2010 Al Ain has hosted the AERO GP, an “air-racing” style event organised by Flying Aces who also has an internet broadcasting arm, airsports.tv. For the last two days of the Al Ain Aerobatics Show, airsports.tv has broadcast live footage from the flying displays and AERO GP on it’s website. The Al Ain Aerobatics Show is very much a global airshow bringing the very best acts together from around the world. This year acts came from Croatia, France, Italy, Hungary, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Switzerland, the UK, the USA as well as the UAE. While the show does bring in a healthy number of tourists, the live internet coverage gives the show a true global audience.
The footage coming out of Al Ain has been spectucular, though was regular interrupted by adverts for show sponsors and even clips from the 2009 event (infact, I even saw myself in the footage! – Ed) as the footage was also being shown on big screens at the event. However, Airsports.tv’s footage gave a really good feel to this unique event. But why doesn’t such footage appear from UK shows? After all, internet streaming has started to become a popular feature of american airshows and major sporting events.
The cost of setting up the broadcast are perhaps prohibitive; as well as all the camera crews, live production suites and associated facilities are also required. Video footage is professionally captured at many airshows by the likes of Planes TV, but is rarely broadcast live as it’s taken back to their offices to be edited. However, live internet streaming could have some major benefits for some of the UK shows.
The Al Ain show is an important part of Abu Dhabi’s tourist strategy which cites major events such an airshows and Formula 1 motor-racing as vital attractions. In the UK, we also have airshows which are held in support of tourism, namely the big seaside events such as Sunderland, Eastbourne and Bournemouth. Could internet streaming help them? Well yes! Event’s like Bournemouth see themselves growing into international attractions bringing in visitors from Europe for their shows and internet broadcasting would be an ideal platform to promote the event and the town/resort. However, if internet broadcasting is to take off at UK shows, it’s possibly only ever going to happen with some large sponsorship which is unlikely in the current economic climate.
In the meantime, enjoy some of the higlights from Airsports.tv’s coverage of Al Ain 2010:-
The live broadcast comes as part of a celebration of the centenary of air racing and the Aero GP’s debut in the Middle East. The Aero GP will be the first competitive multiple airplane race of it’s kind in the region and the main event of the prestigious Al Ain Aerobatic Show. Both spectacular events will be broadcast LIVE on 30 – 31 January 2009 on the new online TV channel, Airsports.tv.
Airsports.tv broadcasts features of top-level air sports competitions worldwide and is fast becoming a focal point for the air sports community.
Jeff Zaltman, Managing Director of Aero GP, said “We want to share the excitement and enthusiasm of this amazing sport with as many people as possible and get competitive air racing noticed by the wider sporting community. The online broadcast with Airsports.tv is an essential part of the process. ”
Viewers who tune in on 30-31 January (12:00pm – 18:00pm GMT) will see all aspects of the Aero GP events with live commentary including:
1. Pylon Air Race – Five aircraft racing simultaneously around a tight circuit, 20 feet off the ground at at speeds of up to 500kph.
2. Dog Fighting – Two pilots compete head-to-head in a battle for air supremacy in an air combat round
3. Target Bombing – As part of the ‘Barnstorming’ round pilots will perform various aerobatic stunts and compete in a real target bombing competition.
The impressive line up of world-class pilots has an international flavour, which includes: Richard ‘Smokey’ Young, Andy Bickmore, Zoltan Veres, Gerald Cooper and Mark Jefferies.
For most of us it’s a struggle to drive our empty bottles to the local recycling facilities every so often — try running a four-aircraft display team through more than 60 displays a year, without doing any damage to the environment.The Yakovlevs Display Team, the UK’s premier aerobatic team, is launching a new scheme that will make them the first, and only carbon neutral display team on the scene, with the help of their new sponsor, Salisbury-based insurance broker Emery Little.
The Yakovlevs will offset all their carbon emmisions, with the help of Emery Little’s GreenFly carbon offsetting program. For the team, this is another step in the process of making flying not just better for the environment, but also safer for the pilots and their audience. Lead pilot Jez Hopkinson has already developed a new kind of eco/enviromentally friendly smoke oil with Shell Aviation, which is classed as safe for human consumption, produces whiter smoke, and even makes the aircraft’s paint last longer. The new smoke oil was launched by the Yakovlevs last year, and is now used by most teams in the display world.
“We are delighted to have Emery Little as a major sponsor,”Jez said.”The combination of the GreenFly initiative and Ondina EL means that we believe the Yakovlevs are now the world’s most environmentally friendly air display team. It is a pleasure to work with Nik Little and James Moreton, I look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Emery Little.
The GreenFly scheme means that participants can submit their projected flying hours for the year with a quotation request, and have their carbon emmissions purchased to help spare the environment.
James Moreton, head of aviation at Emery Little added: “It is great to be associated with a leading UK based air display team. In particular with Jez and his highly experienced team, whose commitment and ethos to best practice within the aviation industry and the environment fits exactly with Emery Little.”
For more information on how to get involved with GreenFly, visit the Emery Little website by going to the Our Sponsors page. Keep your eyes on this site too, as more updates will be posted soon.
Mike Mangold clinches Red Bull Air Race Championship
American Mike Mangold (Team Cobra) snatched the 2007 Red Bull Air Race World Series championship from Britain’s Paul Bonhomme (Team Matador) today after the closest fought title race in the competition’s 4 year history. Mangold, the 2005 champion, came third in Perth putting him on 47 points for the season, equalling Bonhomme’s points total.The Brit finished a disappointing fifth in the last race of the season – his worst result this year and the first time the usually consistent Bonhomme has failed to get on the podium in 2007.
52-year-old Californian Mangold took the title thanks to better results in elimination rounds after both pilots had exactly the same number of podium places this season.Hungary’s Peter Besenyei (Team Red Bull) took third place in the 2007 standings.
The dramatic end of season showdown was witnessed by more than 200,000 excited fans who lined the banks of the Swan River to watch Nicolas Ivanoff (France/M.R.T.) take advantage of Bonhomme and Mangold’s apparent nerves to take his first victory of the season.In a race which didn’t go to form at all, America’s Mike Goulian took second place on the podium.
There was consolation for the Brits who took first place in the overall team competition.Team Matador, made up of Bonhomme and fellow Brit Steve Jones, took the team championship with 64 points.
“I’m incredibly happy,” said Mangold. “The title landed in my lap at the last minute. I really wasn’t expecting it. It was a long and extremely difficult year. We had some problems during the course of the season, but the team didn’t stick its head in the sand. We worked hard on becoming successful again.”
Bonhomme, who received thunderous applause from the crowd, was magnanimous in defeat. “It was a constant battle with Mike all season and at the end of the day he was the luckier pilot. It could hardly be any closer than that. It’s incredible. But it’s now time to do some serious celebration.”
The aerial battle through air pylons set up on a slalom course just metres above the surface of the Swan River in the Western Australia city saw the pilots hit speeds of up to 400 km/hour (250 mph) and forces of up to 10G.
For a full run down of the final championship standings and to watch Red Bull Air Race Video Highlight, please visit our Red Bull Air Race Section
Silverstone to host 2009 World Aerobatics Championship
Silverstone Circuit will host the next official FAI World Aerobatic Championship in 2009.This is the first time since 1986 that this most prestigious competition in the world of air sports has been held in the United Kingdom.
Flying Aces, the air sports rights management company, in partnership with the British Aerobatic Association, was awarded the rights to the event by the FAI, the world’s official air sports federation, by voting ballot on Sunday, beating bids from the United States and Germany.
The World Championship, which is held every two years, will take place in August 2009 (dates to be confirmed) at Silverstone, which is known for hosting world-class motorsport events, including the FORMULA 1™ Santander British Grand Prix.The event will be televised internationally.
The World Aerobatic Championship includes two independent championship events: a classic unlimited aerobatic competition and a freestyle competition.The best pilots from around the world will be competing over British soil for the top title in air sports.
Richard Phillips, Managing Director of Silverstone Circuits Limited, said “Silverstone began its life as an airfield and we are proud to be building upon the venue’s heritage by developing another dimension to our portfolio of top international motorsport competition.The World Aerobatic Championships is another example of an elite event that demonstrates Silverstone’s leadership in the world of sport and entertainment.”
Jeff Zaltman, Head of the Organising Committee and Managing Director of Flying Aces, said, “’We are thrilled with the FAI’s decision. This is another great example of the recent emergence of air sports as a new untapped property in the sporting world.The air sports segment is undergoing a revolution that will change the face of sport; and Silverstone’s recognition of this potential – and the FAI’s adoption of new venues – is evidence that air sports such as aerobatics are entering the mainstream.Fans at Silverstone are going to be treated to something very special.”
Alan Cassidy, Chairman of the British Aerobatics Association, said, “Aerobatics is one of the most challenging forms of sport requiring both physical and mental determination in the most demanding conditions possible.Aerobatic pilots endure G-forces that would knock a normal person unconscious.We are excited about the opportunity to showcase our sport at a premier venue and to bring the World Championships home to Britain.”
Sponsorship and hospitality packages for this unique event will become available soon.Please contact the organiser, Flying Aces, for more details.
Flying Aces Ltd, based in LondonUK owns, manages and exploits global media rights connected to top level aviation sport. Most of the Flying Aces property rights are fully developed in-house while others are managed on behalf of other rights holders. Flying Aces is also the organiser of the internationally-televised Aero GP air racing series and the new TV series “Air Sports World” which covers the range of official FAI Championships (broadcast on Sky Sports in the UK).